Cumin Flavoured Potatoes (Tava Potatoes)
Tava is a traditional Cypriot dish made with small chunks of lamb and rice flavoured with whole cumin. The Dutch oven that they are cooked in is surrounding by slices of thick potatoes and onions. The pototaoes in Tava were added to protect the sides of the rice from burning and were a prized find for a potato lover like myself.
In my maternal grandmother’s days in Pano Lefkara, Cyprus in the 1930’s the dish would be walked down to the communal oven and cooked whilst they were at church on a Sunday. A Greek Orthodox Sunday service is between 2-2 1/2 hours plus the socialising time. The dish would be collected on their way home.
I decided to harness the flavour which was traditionally a delicious addition to a main course and made them a side dish, in their own right. They complimented our lamb on the souvla (rotating BBQ) beautifully and would be a delicious addition to a Sunday roast served with middle eastern flavours and perhaps my Harissa Yogurt Sauce on the side. Vegans and Vegetarians can enjoy these Tava potatoes as part of meze style lunch with dips, my marinated artichokes and salads.
The recipe is easy, use potato wedges or slices of potatoes and they both work well. The sliced potatoes can be made into a bake sprinkled with crushed cumin seeds, and topped with slices of tomato and optional thin rings of onions with a little stock to moisten the dish as it cooks.
- 3 large Maris Piper or King Edward Potatoes
- 1 onion sliced (optional)
- 1 large tomato cut into thick slices or 1 small handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 Tablespoon roasted and ground cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- Heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
- Heat a roasting tray in the oven whilst you are preparing the potatoes.
- Peel and cut the potatoes into thick wedges or slices.
- Sprinkled over the ground roasted cumin.
- Pour the olive oil onto the potatoes and gently massage the cumin and oil into each potato.
- Add the optional onion and the sliced or the halved cherry tomatoes.
- Roast the potatoes according to the timings on the packet or until the potatoes have softened and taken on a golden colour.
These cumin flavoured Tava potatoes are delicious on their own with a salad, eaten with Mediterranean dips, for a vegan or meat free Monday meal, a side to roast lamb, pork. beef, chicken or fish.
Above is my lunch plate, BBQ chicken, shoulder of lamb chunk, Tava Potatoes, homemade Tzatziki and Taramasalata, salad and Lemon & Oregano Marinated Feta.